“Through stories of survival, escape, redemption and regret, tunesmith Troy Petty pens lyrics that sting as well as soothe atop a flawless mix of Indie and polished alternative pop.
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The new EP “Departure”
Release Date: 6.5.15
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Bio / Press Kit
For all the changes that native Chicagoan Troy Petty has gone through since his last release – 2012’s primarily subdued Fairy Tale Pen, a collection of songs dating back three years themselves – it’d be foolish to assume that his songwriting wouldn’t somehow be affected. None of these shifts are unheard of certainly, but each is tenuous and relatable: Dissolved connections with professional and personal relationships, moving into his original childhood home and back in with his parents, hopping from job to job, and relocating eventually to Ohio. But what’s inspiring is how Petty has come out the other end not necessarily unscathed, but better. His music and production on this latest release Departure are more triumphant and his lyrics seem wiser, whether he’s connecting with the listener, requesting needed empathy of a song’s antagonist or talking himself through the steps needed to survive the trials he’s so vividly documenting. To put it simply, Petty himself says Departure is about “letting go, listening to your intuition and finding your own meaning of ‘comfort zone.'”
Though the immensely stirring title track wraps up the album, it’s as good of a starting point as any for describing Petty’s approach. Set to a tense, waltz-like march that simmers with determination to a stunning boil, the song was born in the bedroom he had as a kid, which ended up inspiring much of the album’s material. “Musically, I felt I needed to find my identity in all the recent messes and what direction to go in, because for years i’d been tearing myself apart trying to create in just one medium: Playing acoustically on the road or electric. I decided to let all my notions (about what I thought everyone else wanted me to do most of my life) go, and the instrumentation came similarly, (almost) intuitively and with no rules or fears of crossing another sub-genre for the sake of identity or comfort.”
Columbus resident Brian McGuckin often gives this project its heartbeat on drums, but otherwise this whole soundscape is directly Petty’s. Performing all vocals, keyboards, bass and guitars himself on Departure, these songs sport real emotional muscle to coincide with the headstrong life lessons Petty brings to the table: Lead-track “All Ghosts” coasts bravely on a deep, pulsing rhythm before hitting a remarkable crescendo where it seems all previous versions of one’s self that were once “afraid to fly” turn into “angels,” free to meet their true calling; Augmented by an army of victorious strums and distant shouts, “Unfinished” is a commanding promise not to settle or die on the inside before the physical body does so; “Motor Mind,” as close to a full-on rocker as Departure allows, still finds time to step back and examine the artist’s insomnia with gentle flourishes; “Set Me Free,” as Petty explains, “hit me like a gospel hymn,” and sounding like it came directly from a torturous desert, the tune adheres to the religious-meets-gothic nature of true journeymen like Johnny Cash. It’s a brilliant, if crazed, plea for ultimate freedom.
Recorded at John Schwab Recording – where a wide range of world-renowned acts like Kiss, Peter Frampton and Gavin DeGraw have laid down material – Departure was helmed by engineer/producer Colin Coffey (Slash; Big & Rich) and was “a breakthrough experience… finally knowing where I belong creatively,” remarks Petty. “Much of the feel of this album came from epiphany-like moments, (like) how I felt when I began doing music. Slowly and painfully over the years, I lost myself to the expectations of others in everything I did, and my art began showing signs of that. This album was a great jump-off piece for what’s to come in the future.”
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